Caritas providing help for Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Lebanon

A Syrian refugee boy points at the Syrian flag he draws as he takes part in a computer classe on June 19, 2014 at Caritas Migrant Centre in Dahr El Ain, near Tripoli. Photo by Matthieu Alexandre/Caritas

A Syrian refugee boy points at the Syrian flag he draws as he takes part in a computer classe on June 19, 2014 at Caritas Migrant Centre in Dahr El Ain, near Tripoli. Photo by Matthieu Alexandre/Caritas

Caritas Lebanon is boosting its activities to continue supporting Syrian refugees. It will also help vulnerable Lebanese families and Iraqi Christians who have fled persecution.

Lebanon is hosting 40 percent of the refugees who have fled Syria to neighbouring countries. However international funds to support refugee programmes have dwindled. The substantial increase in population and the decrease in funding to host refugees has had an impact on public services and the more vulnerable Lebanese people who rely on them.

Najla Chahda, director of Caritas Lebanon’s Migrant Centre, said, “We are trying to help lots of Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese who need food, healthcare, education and many other things. On top of this, we’re supporting Iraqi Christian families. The challenge is huge and requires a massive international commitment in terms of funding and support.”

Caritas is appealing to donors for €2,3 million (US$ 3 million) for programmes which will mainly be focused on Syrians, but also Lebanese and Iraqis for the next twelve months.

With the money it will provide support for accommodation, water, health, hygiene and sanitation, education, counselling and legal assistance.

Education will be a key component for Caritas as there is limited public schooling in Lebanon. Many poor Lebanese children and Syrian refugee children risk falling behind as they are not in any formal schooling either because of their family situation or because places are few. Caritas will help children go to school.

Prices for food, fuel and rent have been driven up by the increase in population in Lebanon where the cost of living is already high. Some 170,000 Lebanese have fallen below the poverty line, adding to the 1 million people already living in desperate circumstances.

Three hundred Iraqi families will be given cash to help them meet their basic needs as they embark on life in a different country with few or no possessions. They will also receive trauma counselling and healthcare.

“Iraqi Christian refugees arrive in our offices sobbing because they need help, having lost everything after being forced from their homeland,” said Najla Chahda.

The projects will take place throughout Lebanon but the prime locations are Tripoli, the North, Mt. Lebanon, Beirut and its suburbs, the South and the Bekaa Valley.

For more information, please contact Michelle Hough at hough@caritas.va or call +39 06 6987 9752 or +39 334 2344 136.

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